Last week I said goodbye to Nairobi for the time being. More than anything, I’ll miss the people who made my time there worthwhile. But I have a feeling I’ll stay involved even from the States. They say that Africa gets under your skin and you always come back.
This week I traveled to Arusha, Tanzania to work on aquaponics projects at YWAM and an orphanage. Having basically no construction or farming experience, building aquaponics systems in Tanzania seemed like a pretty daunting task to accomplish in a week. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the second system at the orphanage, but I learned a ton and got some valuable experience. And no two days are ever the same in Africa. One day we wanted construction materials delivered to the site, and since the store’s driver was drunk, we hired a guy off the street to pull a hand-drawn cart all 6 miles. Another day we bought fish and loaded them in buckets into the trunk of our car. I laid down in the back, getting splashed as I made sure the buckets didn’t topple over on bumpy roads. Overall it was a pretty memorable experience.
Tanzania is a different than Kenya. I’ve worked in Africa for two years and realize it moves at its own pace, but so far Tanzania takes the cake in moving slowly. Apparently, East Africans all hire Kenyans for their management positions because they’re so much faster and harder-working than everyone else. In Tanzania, everything takes longer than you think and to avoid complete frustration you just have to take it easy. It gets to the point where you’ve waited so long for something that when it’s finally about to happen, you don’t even feel motivated to do it anymore. We did end up getting work done though, and now I just hope the system is maintained so people here actually reap the benefits.
Tomorrow I start my journey down to South Africa. I’m really excited and slightly terrified. First, I head to Mbeya, Tanzania. The Lonely Planet description of the trip merely states that it’s, “a grueling 18 hours”. After that, I’ll go to Lusaka and Livingstone, Zambia, before passing through Botswana and finally making it to Johannesburg.